Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers should not charge extra fees to users for visiting specific sites or allow faster access to some sites over others. Instead, net neutrality holds that all online traffic should be treated equally.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) previously had rules enforcing net neutrality, but they repealed those rules in December. Oregon is one of many states fighting to maintain net neutrality,
and have joined a lawsuit with other states working to reverse the FCC’s repeal. There has also been talk about Oregon creating laws to protect net neutrality within the state.
Several states already have laws that would enforce net neutrality, pending legislation. The loss of net neutrality could greatly impact online-based education, such as colleges that rely greatly on lecture videos and videoconferencing.
Though students would still be able to access these services, it is unlikely they would be a priority for internet service providers when it comes to determining the access speed. This would mean more time spent waiting for things to load, instead of spending that same time learning the material.
Slow internet speeds are not only a problem when it comes to video based education, but also could affect a student’s ability to access other online tools. Because of possible data caps enforced by the internet service providers, students may have a more difficult time accessing cloud software.
If Oregon is able to pass its own net neutrality law, or if the FCC’s repeal were to be overturned, it would help protect the educational services that will likely end up suffering from the FCC’s current decision.
Though Oregon’s proposal for its own net neutrality laws is a reassurance to those living in the state, it still leaves room for possible issues to arise, as there would still be no federal law for net neutrality.
There is also the fact that people living in states which have chosen not to create any net neutrality laws would still face the consequences of the FCC’s ruling.
The most effective solution here is to reverse the FCC’s repeal and reinstate the net neutrality rules. It would also be beneficial to add some kind of safeguard to prevent future rulings that would again get rid of net neutrality.